Fertility in China: An uncertain future

Stuart Basten, Quanbao Jiang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Scopus citations


    As one of the world’s two population ‘billionaires’, the future of China’s population is truly of global significance. With its very low fertility and a rapidly ageing population, it might appear that the country’s famous (or notorious) family planning restrictions are somewhat anachronistic. Here, we explore the process of reform seen over the past three decades and, most recently, in late 2013. We suggest that the popular notion that the family planning restrictions are acting as a pressure valve suppressing a pent-up demand for childbearing, particularly in rural China, is likely to be inaccurate. We also suggest that further reform of the restrictions will not solve the problems of population ageing or many of the other issues widely associated with the restrictions. We conclude that the prospects for further reform are wide-ranging, but likely to be beset by many challenges.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)S97-S105
    JournalPopulation Studies
    StatePublished - 30 Apr 2015


    • China
    • family planning policy
    • fertility
    • one-child policy


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